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The good and bad of internet dating

One in four relationships now start online, and that number will only increase.

However, research seems to suggest that vast choice – although alluring – actually works against us, and that online dating compounds our biases rather than challenging them.

Undoubtedly, online dating can detach us from other people’s humanity, and foster the worst in some people.

Even though dating apps have a propensity to dehumanise potential suitors, they are a highly convenient way of streamlining possible partners according to our favoured criteria (such as bacon), cutting out time-wasters and minimising the achingly cringe-inducing encounters that we’ve all experienced on terrible first dates. They allow us to mercilessly and immediately dismiss people who don’t meet our subjective criteria, while eliminating the face-to-face element of initial contact. I know he fosters puppies and feeds the homeless in his free time, but I just don’t like hat guys.” This distance can be comforting because it buffers rejection on both sides and allows us to ‘put ourselves out there’ without feeling compromised.

Online and app-based dating has changed the way we interact with each other.However, it also makes it easier for us to close ourselves entirely to the potential of ‘non-ideal’ candidates, some of whom may like hats and smoked bacon but be great anyway.Depending on what you’re looking for online, this can be problematic because, interestingly, we are terrible at knowing what we actually want, and should really have a lot less faith in our criteria.We’ve moved on from discomfort or embarrassment about using technology to connect with other people.There’s a whole generation of millennials who use dating apps as a matter of course, and it makes sense that we think a bigger pool increases the likelihood of finding someone we’re actually compatible with.Online, sending the word in block capitals still probably isn’t a good idea, but for men initiating contact and not getting a response, it isn’t as debilitatingly soul crushing.Everyone is generally braver and less accountable online – more likely to communicate with others in a way that we would certainly hesitate to when faced with that person looking directly at us in conversation.Where the endless choice becomes complicated is trying to form a traditionally monogamous heterosexual relationship (where bacon isn’t necessarily a central focus).Despite living in an age where your every dating preference can be catered to online, being face-to-face matters.Yeah, I didn’t realise that loving bacon is a criterion to base any form of relationship on either.But now I know it is, I wouldn’t dream of dating a man who didn’t share my strong preference for thin and crispy non-smoked streaky bacon.

124 comments

  1. Nov 15, 2015. In my early days of dating online I reckoned that I should give men a chance if I found their messages tedious but their profiles intriguing. “Maybe he's not just as good at writing as I am,” I'd think. But the ones that I doubted beforehand never turned out to be men I wanted to get to know in person. If they don't.

  2. A very good thing. After school it can be really hard to meet people. I hope in the future that online dating becomes even more advanced at matching people than it. to text me over Whatsapp and the conversation would continue in him asking for nudes and me blocking him or me thinking meh he doesn't seem half bad.

  3. May 15, 2017. If you're new to the world of online dating, welcome! Online dating can be a wonderful way to meet great people. Chances are you've heard a lot of advice and stories—both good and bad—from your friends. The truth is, online dating is different for everyone, and not all advice applies to every situation.

  4. Feb 6, 2012. "Charming, sporty, generous, funny, 'no mind games', good-looking, sensual. The want a 'real man', a male who asserts himself and even what they call 'bad boys'. So the gentle guys. Which suggests that online dating sites will be filling us with hopes – and disappointments – for a good while yet.

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